The next generation...
I was saddened to hear the news of the recent passing of Ron Burns, the first project manager of the Humber Bridge.
Mr Burns died peacefully at home on 18 October. New Civil Engineer describes him as a contractors man who feared nobody while maintaining his principles and work ethic.
In his early career he was involved in some of the biggest major suspension bridge projects of the last fifty years: The Humber Bridge, Port Rashid Dubai and the first Hong Kong tunnel.
Mr Burns legacy is clear for all to see. The lessons learned by the project management pioneer are adopted in all modern civil engineering projects.
His passing reminded me of a conversation I had at a recent seminar.
A young academic asked me if I knew of any up-and-coming project management academics who may be looking for work. My ever-expanding network of contacts hasnt quite reached that stage as yet and I got to thinking where is the next generation of academic coming from?
It is clear that with the interest and investment in the training and development of tomorrows project manager, Mr Burns legacy will live on. But, are we putting the right amount of focus on developing the next generation of academic leader? After all, we are surely only as good as those teaching the younger generations in the field.
Established academic leaders such as Professor Eddie Obeng, Professor Darren Dalcher and Professor Bent Flyvbjerg have much to offer the current generation, but who is next?
Who can emulate the original Obeng? Can we find a different Dalcher? A fresh Flyvbjerg or a latest Carver? Answers on a postcard please.